A well-behaved dog with impeccable manners isn't just born that way.
Training your dog to behave when other people are around takes work and commitment but the rewards are well worth it.
We talked to Los Angeles-based professional dog trainer David Wright to better understand what goes into raising a dog with good manners. Wright is the owner of iWorkDogs, which specializes in helping people create better relationships with their dogs through obedience. Wright is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator and a professional member of the Association for Professional Dog Trainers.
THE HONEST KITCHEN: Rather than locking your dog away when guests come over for dinner, how can you help him understand what his place is?
DAVID WRIGHT: The best thing to do to prevent begging or stealing food is teaching your dog to go to his bed. This is essentially a place command where your dog goes to his bed and doesn’t come off until he is released.
Start off by placing the bed in a location that allows the dog to see the table and you to see the dog. Try to put the bed in a corner so the dog is surrounded by two walls. Next you want to put your dog on a leash, say "go to your bed" and lure the dog to the bed with a treat. Once the dog is all the way on the bed, say "good" and toss the treat on the bed. It is very important that the treat come from the bed and not your hand. Tell the dog "stay on your bed" and back up a couple of steps. If the dog doesn’t come off, say "good" and walk back and drop a couple of treats on the bed. As the dog starts to understand, you can increase your distance, duration and distraction. A major piece that folks forget about when doing this is that you need to train it before you need to use it. Don’t wait until you have a dinner party of 10 and try to get your dog to stay on his bed. You need to practice this with your dog everyday. It should become part of his daily routine.
Incorporating your dog into your daily family life makes for a more enriched pet experience. Though crating or confining your dog may be useful in the beginning, as your dog matures, you want them to fit more and more seamlessly into your life.
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